Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Patch: There was something about that dog

Patch is gone from this world, at least from his most recent canine form. He had an aggressive and inoperable cancer and had to be euthanized. Since his adoption, he had made his home and life at Peaceful Passings Senior Dog Rescue, where Patch served as Vice President, Pack Leader, chief nurse, aide, assistant, and counselor for the other canine residents. He had communication skills like no dog I've seen. His service to the humans of the household was invaluable and irreplaceable.

This was Patch when he arrived,
he was a hot damn mess, medically speaking.
I've written about Patch many times before and after his adoption because there was just something special about that dog. Anyone who knows me even slightly knows that I'm not a religious person. I'm not even what you would call "spiritual," but I've referred to Patch in the past as a "Christ-dog." You could see something in his eyes. Some people said he had an "old soul." I don't know, but I do know that everyone who met him wanted to touch him. Even when he was skin and bones with infected skin and raw, open sores. Wherever we went, people's hands would reach out to touch him, as if there was something both to be given and to be gained from the contact. If I were to indulge in spiritual speculation I would suggest that he had been reincarnated to the point that he had reached the highest plane of his physical and spiritual existence. I'm not sure what higher form he could take than the perfect being he had been as the dog named Patch, so maybe this is where he moves from Dog to God.
He could speak with his eyes and
read your thoughts and emotions with them as well.

All dogs are special in their own way, each and every one of them. But there was something about Patch that defies understanding, something I've not seen in the hundreds (thousand?) dogs who have passed this way.

Both the human and canine worlds are diminished by his passing.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dog walks

Maya and TJ at the Rivanna River. It's just about a mile down
to the river and back to the parking lot.
It's been short walks with older dogs, a mile or two at most, and then longer walks with younger dogs. Everyone is pretty happy.

We had enough rain a few days ago to sprout
a few mushrooms in the woods.
Gigi went on one of the river walks on Sunday.

TJ waded in until it dropped off and he had to swim.
He wasn't concerned about that, but he kept his tail up out
of the water and dry.

Gigi may have walked to the water's edge but I don't think
she even got her feet wet.

Sparky with Maya and Trooper on another short walk.

Does anyone know what this mushroom is called?

Theo the Great

Max and Theo went for a longer hike.
They have plenty of energy.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Let's find Axel a new home and new life

This is Axel. He's about a year and a half old, I'm guessing.  He's a recently neutered and vaccinated male shepherd mix. Axel was initially taken in by HOWS as a medical emergency. He had been attacked by another dog and had a severely infected wound and infected ears. The owner agreed to have him neutered while he was in our care and ultimately agreed to surrender him so he could be re-homed. That's where we are at now. He's completely healed up from the infected ears, neck wound, and neuter. He's ready for a new home.

Axel had lived outdoors on a chain until he came into foster care. Since then he's been crated indoors at night and he's been absolutely fine in the crate overnight, not even tearing up the bedding. I wouldn't say he's perfectly housetrained, he will mark where other dogs have marked in the past, but he heads downstairs to the door first thing in the morning. He's learned the routine around here very quickly and very well.

Axel is fine with other dogs, both male and female. I haven't had a chance to test him with cats yet. He is young and playful, still a puppy in many ways. He's never had much in the way of training but he does sit on command (mostly). He's been chained his whole life so when he gets out to walk he's very happy and excited, but still he's not too bad walking on a leash, although he could obviously benefit from some more training. He has stayed in a four foot fence without jumping or making any effort to get out. A fenced yard is a slice of heaven for this guy who has lived in a dirt circle circumscribed by his chain.

Mostly Axel is a nice, sweet dog, full of love and happiness. Open your heart and your home and he will make you love him. He's available for adoption from The HOWS Project, and you can contact his foster home at vadogrescue@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A heritage of hate

Hundreds of Trump supporters emerged from their mamas' basements with outdoor party supplies and converged on Charlottesville to whine about their perceived loss of privileges. This is what happens when you are 30-50 years old and can't get laid because you are fat, lazy, and ignorant white trash. You look around for someone to blame it on instead of taking personal responsibility for your own sad life.

Jason Kessler is the local idiot who disorganized this disaster. He's a 30-something ne'er-do-well UVA grad who is jealous of Richard Spencer's looks and greater notoriety. Richard Spencer is a UVA grad but no longer local. He's a mama's boy who is jealous of Steve Bannon's income and even greater notoriety, as well as his much vaunted ability to suck his own cock. They brought together a few hundred white males representing every imaginable hate group in the country. Most of them were straight up, self-avowed nazis. They all praised Hitler and Trump, not necessarily in that order.

The ostensible purpose of the gathering was to protest the removal of a statue in a city where none of them lived, with the possible exception of Kessler and few local friends.

First off, that fucking statue isn't history. The history of the civil war is in the battlefields, graveyards, and plantation homes that are all too plentiful in the south. If you want real history, visit a museum, visit a civil war battlefield, visit the many civil war sites in Richmond and all over this part of the country. Visit the nearby town of Appomattox where Robert E. Lee surrendered his army of traitors. I've seen many of these things and I value them all, but that statue isn't history, it's a monument to a lost cause and a bad cause at that. Taking it down isn't an attempt to erase history; far from it, it would show we learned something from history. I hear people saying we can't pick and choose which parts of history we like. No, we can't, but we can pick and choose which parts of history we want to venerate and celebrate. It's time that the south faced up to the fact that they lost the Civil War. They took up arms against their fellow countrymen rather than try to resolve disputes through the constitutionally established political process. It wasn't a noble enterprise, it was an act of treason and it was rightfully crushed.

But this "rally" was never really about the proposed removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. It was an excuse to unite all the hate groups in this country. They may have succeeded in that, as the crowd shouted anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-gay, and anti-immigrant slogans at various times. They believe that Donald Trump is their messiah and with Steve Bannon in the White House they have a solid basis for that belief.

I wish the city would take a bulldozer to the fucking statue tomorrow and divide up the crumpled remains between David Duke, Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, and Donald Trump. This is their legacy, this is their heritage.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Freedom Trail

I was out hiking with Axel and Baron yesterday evening. It was getting dark but I was wanting to give the boys a good hike and get in 4-5 miles for myself. It is getting dark earlier now, almost two months past the summer solstice, and it was pretty much dark by the time we finished. Due to the failing light and our need for speed, my pictures aren't great. But it was a great hike, a momentous hike even, because I got a notice while we were walking that some wonderful HOWs volunteers had managed to secure a signature on a surrender form from Axel's owner.

He's not going back to live on a chain in the dirt. He now has a chance he didn't have before. I'm happy beyond measure, and I'm grateful to the former owner for making the tough and selfless decision to do what's right for the dog. Now it's up to us to find him a good home where he can live as part of a family as a true companion animal and receive good care and love for the rest of his life.

The reason I've been able to foster and let them go is that I know they are going to great homes when they are adopted. It would have broken my heart to have to send him back where he came from. He is such a happy dog, and a good dog, he deserves the best home we can find for him.

I will work on getting some good pictures of Axel so we can start to find him a home. Right now, even a temporary foster home would be good because I'm going out of town the middle of next week.

The search is on for the happy ending to Axel's story as a foster dog.


Baron is a former foster who is boarding with
us. I've been very glad that he and Axel were
here at the same time because they've been good
for each other. Both are young and playful.

Baron showing off his near-perfect
"heel." He's had professional training.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Maya and Max

It's another pretty day here today, but it's warming up again. I wanted to do a five mile hike but I knew it was too hot to take TJ for that distance, so Max came along in his place.

Max set a faster pace than we had been doing to accommodate TJ. It felt good and Max enjoyed it as well as Maya. This was probably first time I've walked Max since I officially adopted him. He's good on the trails, but he's got a very strong prey drive, which I experienced a couple times today. Once was a small creature right near the edge of the trail that scurried off into the bushes as we passed. That type of animal is the most natural prey for a dog, but it's the deer that we saw near the end of the walk that really gets them excited.  I had Max on a harness, which is fine until he spots a deer.  I need to put a prong collar on him that I can grab with a short leash for those occasions when I need better control.

We have been seeing turtles frequently since the rain as well.  If the dogs spot them moving they will want to stop and sniff but I keep them moving on. If the turtle is motionless, there's a good chance that the dogs will walk right over them without noticing.

The wildflowers are trending towards the late summer/fall varieties and I even noticed some red leaves and berries beginning to form on the sumac.

It felt good to do a full five miles again.  I'm going to start just walking the younger dogs until it cools off this fall.  TJ didn't seem to mind staying home, unlike Maya who insists on going with me everywhere.